I, along with my Conservative colleagues, are very pleased to be co-sponsoring and fully supporting the Conservative European Referendum Bill, which will allow the British people to decide whether they believe the UK should be a member of the EU or not.
The vast majority of the British people have never had a say on EU membership. For such a significant matter, this cannot be right so I am extremely proud to be a member of a Party that is giving you a say on Europe.
As a former Chairman of openDemocracy I have been very involved with advocating referenda. I have always sought to ensure that the people have a voice and that their views are respected; a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU would allow the public’s views to be heard and acted upon.
The Conservatives also plan to significantly change our current arrangements with Europe. Quite frankly, the status quo could not continue. The Labour Party was too quick to surrender parts of our rebate and always too slow to stand up for British interests in Brussels.
We are already reversing this legacy. The Prime Minister has already
· been the first Prime Minister to veto an EU resolution
· secured the first ever reduction in the EU budget
· achieved fundamental reforms to the fishing policy, ensuring an end to discards for Thanet’s fisherman.
We are going further and opening negotiations in order to roll back areas of European influence that have been left unchecked for too long. David Cameron will create a new European settlement that will be less focused on red tape and unnecessary bureaucracy, and more on trade, investment and jobs for Britain. It is this new relationship with the EU that the Conservatives will ask the country to accept or reject in a popular vote.
I hope that this assures you that this Government and I are committed to giving the public the opportunity to voice their opinion on our membership of the EU. If you have any questions about this very important matter, please do not hesitate to be in touch.
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